Wishing you and your families peace, love, and joy on this special day.
I came upon this wonderful article on BBC.com a month ago titled A 1000-year Old Promise of Peace and thought this would be the perfect story to share with you on Christmas day. We are all aware during the holidays that what we are really looking for at this time of year is peace. Maybe for one point during the year we could put aside our diverse ideas and beliefs and just enjoy peace? How about looking past our differences in ideology for over a 1000 years? And that too to protect a church that you aren’t even part of?
“Two Muslim families are the guardians of the holiest church for Christians: the Holy Sepulcher church in Jerusalem, the final resting place of Jesus Christ revered to be the place where the body of Jesus was washed before burial and believed to contain his tomb.” From BBC.com
Two Muslim families hold the key to the doors of Jerusalem’s holiest church. How is this possible you wonder? There is a fascinating history lesson in this article about two Muslim families, the Al Husseinis family along with the Nuseibehs family, who have been fulfilling their responsibility of keeping guard of the Holy Sepulchre church and also keeping peace among feuding Christian denominations for over 1000 years.
The story of how the Al Husseini family and the Nuseibehs family were given the responsibility to guard the Holy Sepulchre church dates back 1000 years to the time when Saladdin the Sultan captured Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187. According to BBC “Saladin, the sultan who captured Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187 wanted to make sure that the church was not harmed by his fellow Muslims, something that happened in 1009 when the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim ordered a number of churches in the Holy Land be burned, including the Holy Sepulcher. (Al-Hakim’s son approved the rebuilding of the church in 1128.)”
To quote the Al Husseini family member “So Saladin gave our family the key to protect the church. For our family, this is an honour. And it’s not an honour just for our family, but it’s an honour for all Muslims in the world.”
While Al Husseini’s family holds the key to the church, according to the Nuseibehs family, they are charged with the actual opening and closing of the church’s doors every day, a responsibility that dates back to 637, when the caliph Omar first brought Islam to Jerusalem. Wajeeh Y Nuseibeh, a 67-year old of the Nuseibehs family explained: “Our family first arrived to Jerusalem with Omar, and since then our family has been entrusted to protect the church from vandals.”
In fact, the business cards of these two Muslim families reads “Custodian and door-keeper of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre” while the Al Husseini’s family’s business cards read “Keys Custodian of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.”
This awesome article on BBC.com Travel tells a compelling story of these two Muslim families and their bond with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. You can read the article in its entirety for a wonderful narrative on this uniquely agnostic historic gesture. A 1000-year Old Promise of Peace
This will be the last post of my 25 Days of Posts, Stories, & Recipes. I hope you enjoyed the articles and stories over the past few weeks. I will be returning to publishing my usual 2-3 posts a week. Have a great rest of your holiday!